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Thumb Butte & Groom Creek Loops, AZ
mini location map2022-05-28
7 by photographer avatarjoebartels
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Thumb Butte & Groom Creek Loops, AZ 
Thumb Butte & Groom Creek Loops, AZ
 
Hiking16.81 Miles 2,717 AEG
Hiking16.81 Miles   6 Hrs   50 Mns   2.77 mph
2,717 ft AEG      46 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Encountered a few hikers on the 600 ft climb up Thumb Butte Trail #33. The steep asphalt tread isn't in any storybooks. After cresting it is about a ~200 ft drop to Thumb Connect Trail #314. Which featured nice assets, clicking cicadas, acorn woodpeckers, song sparrows, and other chirping birds.

After a short leg on Thumb Butte Bypass Trail #326, we took Butte Creek Trail #321 to Potts Creek Trail #327 which is always unexpectedly delightful. Hiking along Garden Grove Trail #392, Bruce said he heard the prettiest song of the day listening to a Black-headed Grosbeak.

A hint of trickle flow at the Miller Creek crossing. Then back to the TH on Miller Creek Trail #367, which parallels the Senator Highway. Miller Creek was 99.412% dry.

Hike 2: Groom Creek Loop Trail #307
After a strenuous quarter mile, we decided to have lunch at what seemed like the edge of the most popular bouldering area. Within minutes 4-6 emerged out of the gauntlet of boulders carrying crash pads. They probably smelled old people invading their domain and emitted a chemical warning signal like ants.

Heading up Groom Creek we got passed by three runners coming down quick. Two of them looked like they were in a rock band. Spotted a group of horses approaching behind us but must have turned around soon after. Heard a spotted towhee chipping in the trees.

Passing the old horse rails further up, Bruce smelled creosote. These logs seem a good 40+ years old. Sniff test: definitely a strong creosote scent! I remember Laurie often mentioning Greasewood Flats before they closed in 2015 and looking up greasewood figuring the name was from local creosote since it is aka greasewood. Not positive about it being a wood preservative on these old telephone poles after google returned wood tar and coal tar. Coal tar is or was common in preserving railroad ties. These poles were basically whitewashed, perhaps with age but a photo on the creosote tab at https://woodpoles.org/Why-Wood-Poles/Preservatives has 'em black tarred.

Possibly heard a Green-tailed towhee after a short break at the picnic tables up top. The trail has moved a little after the recent thinning on the upper stretch. The tread through this stretch is comfy-soft but a dust storm with each step.

RS Save/Share > Linked > Auto Link > Numbered/No Overlap
🎶 Sings on well-routed network trail systems. Took 19 seconds on the displayed timer. Typically much less, lots of potential trails in the two areas we hiked for the auto linker to evaluate.

Synopsis
Perfect weather day with strong cool breezes in the upper 70s. Better than average pine canopy on the Groom loop making Thumb the preferred earlier hike. Neither of these seem exciting in planning but both areas were the ticket today. Took 19 photos, it's nice not needing to sort through a hundred for a change.
_____________________
- joe
HAZ Member
joebartels'
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